15
   

Mediocre students make the “good effort” honor list

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:04 am
Everyone can make the honor roll. We don’t want kids to feel bad because their grades are low and can’t make the honor roll so now schools are promoting a new honor roll list so all can make the paper. The “Good Effort” honor roll. All you need to do is to be a consistent “C” grade student, try to consistently get a “C” and be polite. Other schools are not having the honor roll in the paper so that students that do not perform to level needed to make the honor roll will not feel bad.

What are your thoughts? Should everyone make the paper? Does performance matter or is it more important to recognize everyone for good effort? Where is the line drawn? What about failing students – won’t they feel bad?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 15 • Views: 9,008 • Replies: 122

 
Gargamel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:05 am
One day we will wake up and find that we have turned the world into a giant vagina.
Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:17 am
@Linkat,
Those who have the ability to actually make an honour roll no longer have an incentive to achieve. Like it or not, it is an achievement to be recognized for excelling.

I would rather see something other than the honour roll for those who cannot achieve it. Most improved etc. might be better.

Once again, PC is being taken to a level beyond reason.

Next I will be reading about Hawkeye getting the Citizen of the Year.

0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:20 am
I don't see what the big deal is. Personally I am against the honor roll-- kids shouldn't be motivated by grades, they should be motivated by learning (and no... grades and learning are not linked). Kids who work hard in school to get their name in the paper are seriously missing the point (and won't learn the important lessons anyway). I don't think the honor roll hurts that much (which is why I don't think it is a big deal).

In a small way empty rewards like honor roll actually hurt education by focusing on grades and accolades rather then on creativity and knowledge. My kids know I don't care at all about grades or accolades. They do know that I care a great deal about hard work, creativity and critical thinking.

That being said, I don't think it matters very much. Putting all of the kids names in the paper gives a message that the community cares about kids... I don't see what is wrong with that. Putting the best achieving kids in the paper gives a slightly different message.




Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:22 am
It's a ridiculous trend but somehow not surprising. The NY Times recently ran a piece on a related issue: the growing phenomenon of high schools recognizing more than one valedictorian in a graduating class. One example they cited was of a high school in Houston that had 30 valedictorians in one class.
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:31 am
@Linkat,

Its a humiliation to be on that list,
attesting that after having rendered a "good effort"
the students failed to get good grades; (i.e., tried hard, but too dum).
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:36 am
@ebrown p,
As a teacher I often hear the students' side of the argument, which usually goes like this: "It may be true that merely striving for good grades misses the point of education, but many of us are pursuing paths that are at least partly dependent on getting good grades. Colleges want to know our high school grades, graduate programs want to know our college grades, etc. In a perfect world it would not be so, but since it is not a perfect world, are we really doing ourselves a favor by telling ourselves not to worry about grades? It's like steroids in sports: it may be wrong but those who take the moral high ground are the ones who lose."

I once had a student complain about an A- and I tried to tell her that an A- was a perfectly good grade; her response was "Tell that to my med school admissions board." I admit that I did not have a ready reply to that.
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:38 am
Reminds me of the line.

"When your best just isn't good enough"
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:40 am
@Gargamel,
Gargamel wrote:

One day we will wake up and find that we have turned the world into a giant vagina.

You say this like it would be a bad thing.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:42 am
@Shapeless,
Knee-jerk attacks on Educators (teachers and administrators) are cliche these days. It is sad, people claim to value education... yet they offer no respect to the people actually working to provide education. People will turn on a dime on educators for anything (including this).

What is wrong with more then one valedictorian? The article you posted explains the reason that educators decide to do this. Did you even read past the headline, or was this a impulsive response based on your preconceived ideas? Have you even thought about the issues involved outside (outside of your initial reaction)?

I worked as a public school teacher dealing with the challenge of providing a good education to a large, diverse student body. In my district, the top 20% of kids did pretty well. There were lots of resources available to them including advanced classes and programs.

One goal we discussed quite a bit was how to provide for the middle group (we called them the "mid-kids"). These were the kids that did alright, but not spectacularly... in general they did not have the natural ability that the top group had, nor the curiosity and motivation. (They tended to be from poorer families, but that is another issue). We wanted to provide the best education, resource and opportunities for these kids as well.

When educators ask about things like honor roll, and valedictorian... it is not some macho perspective of toughness. Real educators think very carefully about the message they are sending to students. The answers that they come up with will vary based on the needs of their communities and students.

The question is what will best meet the needs of the students and the goals of the school.

A knee-jerk answer based on a fear of women's genitals is not what is needed.
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:45 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
What is wrong with more then one valedictorian? The article you posted explains the reason that educators decide to do this. Did you even read past the headline, or was this a impulsive response based on your preconceived ideas? Have you even thought about the issues involved outside (outside of your initial reaction)?


Yes, I did, and I have thought about the issues quite a lot as I am a teacher as well. My disagreement with it is the same as those who expressed similar ones quoted in the article, though you may disagree with them due to your initial reaction.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:49 am
@ebrown p,
I can see your point in a way - however, there are awards for things like creativity and such, and making good grades whether people like it or not and performing well is how 90% of the real world works.

The thing is part of grading is also critical thinking and creativity- you get higher grades in projects, classes that require critical thinking and creativity. All my daughter's projects in school for instance has part of grade around the creativity of the project/there are questions geared on tests that require critical thinking. It is not all spitting out what is taught - yes there is some of this - spelling for instance, but many aspects of creativity and critical thinking as well. All of this is part of a student's grades.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:51 am
@Shapeless,
I've heard this as well. Crazy - there is one top student - let this student get the recognition he/she deserves.

In my daughter's school, in the grades 4th and higher, they give an award to the top 2 students in each class - my daughter missed last year by a very slim margin (the teacher told me) - this year she worked harder and received the award. There is definately incentive to do better even though all they receive is a piece of paper, the feeling of performing within the top two can push some one harder.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 10:52 am
@OmSigDAVID,
It is emphasizing that they are mediocre.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:00 am
@Linkat,
Quote:
The thing is part of grading is also critical thinking and creativity- you get higher grades in projects, classes that require critical thinking and creativity. All my daughter's projects in school for instance has part of grade around the creativity of the project/there are questions geared on tests that require critical thinking. It is not all spitting out what is taught - yes there is some of this - spelling for instance, but many aspects of creativity and critical thinking as well. All of this is part of a student's grades.


This is something that is not sufficiently recognized, I think. Grades may not always reflect the creative or critical aspects of education, but it isn't the case that they never do either. The problem lies with how grades are assigned, not with the very concept of grades. I have the advantage of teaching humanities subjects where the level of engagement with texts and ideas is more important to me than facts learned, so I'd like to think that I do indeed take creativity and criticism into account when I assign grades. (Not every teacher is at equal liberty to do the same, of course. As my dad, a former math teacher, was fond of saying: "I am doing nobody a favor by giving a passing grade to someone who can't add, especially if that kid goes on to become an architect of a bridge I might drive across.")
ebrown p
 
  0  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:01 am
@Linkat,
Quote:
performing well is how 90% of the real world works


I want to argue with this... but I don't even really know what it means?

In the working world, there are all sorts of way to measure "performance". Do you measure this by salary? Do you measure this by your own happiness? By how your boss views you? Is a hardworking construction worker who makes $30,000 better performing then a white collar employee who doesn't work as hard, but through connections lands $100,000?

What about a stay at home mom or dad?

Real life is complex. There are all sorts of ways to measure success. There are all sorts of ways to navigate whatever constitutes success for you. There are people who work very hard who are rewarded far less then people who don't work hard at all. And there are people who are are happy and unhappy regardless of any specific reward.

I don't think that the whole silly game around earning grades in school prepares you at all for anything in real life.


Joe Nation
 
  6  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:10 am
In a move mirroring the latest trend in education of naming more than one valedictorian, the National Collegiate Football Association announced today that next year there would at least ten winners of the Heisman Trophy.

Anticipating a similar move by the NFL, both the American and National Baseball Leagues said in a joint statement that the World Series Championship would, from now on, be shared by the top six teams in each division. When reporters asked how many teams that would leave out of the Championship, neither League official had any clear answers to give.

An NFL Official reached late today would only say that the only plan thus far under consideration is to give a trophy to every single player in the league. And maybe an extra million dollars, he couldn't say.

In two related stories:
Hasbro released a notice this morning announcing the end of production of the children's game "HEAD OF THE CLASS".http://images.boardgamegeek.com/images/pic41920_t.jpg

and
A Federal Law is pending which would require all US citizens to refrain from ever uttering the words "That's the best sex I ever had."

Joe(unless they say it to everybody every time.)Nation
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:14 am
@Shapeless,
Shapeless wrote:

This is something that is not sufficiently recognized, I think. Grades may not always reflect the creative or critical aspects of education, but it isn't the case that they never do either.

I'd even go further to say that in subjects like math creativity plays a huge role in advanced problem solving. While adding and multiplying can be done by rote, tackling word problems and advanced algebra require creative approaches.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:17 am
@Joe Nation,
Quote:
A Federal Law is pending which would require all US citizens to refrain from ever uttering the words "That's the best sex I ever had."


Come on Joe! Tell me you haven't said that to more then one woman (" 'cause most of us have").
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2010 11:18 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

Its a humiliation to be on that list,
attesting that after having rendered a "good effort"

This is a very asute observation. I doubt I could hold my head high if I was listed with a group of people categorized as "at least they tried hard." I'd also say that is many cases a C average might very well be indicative of not trying too hard.
 

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